Books: A Must-Have for a “Hot Girl Summer”

by Adeline Ferolo

If you’re going to have a Hot Girl Summer,
there is one accessory that is an
absolute must.

A “Hot Girl Summer” is a romanticized seasonal lifestyle perpetuated by various social media outlets—specifically Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. This lifestyle trend is at its height during the summer, encouraging its participants to engage in practices of selfcare. A Hot Girl Summer is not limited by gender, encouraging anyone to become the best versions of themselves during the summer months. There are several interpretations that exist across social media platforms, targeting the social, mental, and physical aspects of an individual’s lifestyle. At the basis of any Hot Girl Summer is the feeling of personal independence, ultimately with the goal of becoming self-confident and reliant. With warmer weather and sunnier days eliminating seasonal depression, summer is the time to focus on yourself, whether it’s mentally, emotionally, or physically.

While social media is at the foundation of creating and popularizing this lifestyle, a Hot Girl Summer cannot be successful without a social media detox. From TikTok to Instagram, videos of Hot Girl Summer routines romanticize a perfect lifestyle. Initially, these videos can be considered inspirational and helpful in creating one’s own self-care routine—but, simultaneously, they can quickly lead to the harmful, often sub-conscious practice of comparison. At the root of many social media-related mental health problems, the practice of comparison can quickly become harmful, leading to questions like, “Why does my life not look like that?” This unfulfilling mentality is routinely observed across social media platforms and is the antithesis of a self-confident Hot Girl Summer mindset. By limiting social media intake and instead redirecting one’s free time towards a different, more fulfilling activity, self-confidence is more attainable. These activities could include working out, journaling, manifesting, or a personal favorite: reading.

As noted in an online study conducted by the University of Liverpool in 2015, those who read for pleasure instead of watching television or scrolling through social media reported stronger feelings of relaxation and satisfaction within their lives. Books are the gateway to learning more about the world and ultimately oneself as well. While social media is viewed in rose-colored glasses, books expose realistic depictions of everyday life. Whether it is a fiction novel detailing life in America during the roaring 1920s or a memoir intertwining personal anecdotes with political events, books open an uninhibited view into the world open to your interpretation. Books allow a reader to come to their own conclusion about characters and stories, ultimately practicing their own synthesis of events and people within their own lives. By empathizing and understanding with characters, a stronger sense of recognition of one’s own identity, beliefs, and ambitions is realized as well. This is at the core of experiencing a true Hot Girl Summer: to appreciate and acknowledge every aspect of yourself.

A Hot Girl Summer mentality creates personal accountability but also is a time for relaxation and realignment of priorities. For those who are interested in participating in my personal interpretation of a Hot Girl Summer, check out my recommendations:

  1. Girl, Woman, Other (2019) by Bernardine Evaristo. 10/10 STARS! Split into twelve chapters, following the lives of twelve distinct characters, Girl, Woman, Other provides a detailed look into the interpretations of race, class, and gender identities across generations. Set in the UK.
  2. All About Love (2000) by Bell Hooks 7/10 STARS Intertwined with personal anecdotes and psychological and philosophical ideas, All About Love explores the necessary role of love in our everyday lives.
  3. …or find another book! Lit. On Fire Used Books, a local bookstore located at 712 West Main Street in Peoria, IL. This local bookstore is proudly woman and LGBTQowned, boasting genres ranging from true crime to literary criticism and essays. The store contains both used and new editions.

About Adeline Ferolo

Stories, arguably, are the most underrated form of currency that floods the digital world, through highlighted Instagram posts and viral YouTube videos. As a rising senior at Richwoods High School, Adeline Ferolo aims to express herself and the issues closest to her authentically through engaging, storytelling, and other mediums. She is a competitively academic student. Her interests range across many creative outlets—as an active writer for the Richwoods Shield, the monthly school newspaper, and as a contributor to the youth-led blog EnviroWrite, which explores rising environmental concerns. Recently she has discovered her passion for the medium of film after attending the National High School Institute summer program at Northwestern University, where she had previously studied creative-intensive subjects ranging from sustainable architecture to graphic design. Within the past year, she has focused her efforts on exploring the visual medium in both her academic and personal life, opting to create experimental videos for class projects and continuing to explore different aspects of the visual language.

Art by Aryanne Westfall

Aryanne “Ary” Westfall is a sophomore at Bradley University majoring in Animation and minoring in Theatre Arts. She is pursuing a career as a storyboard artist and enjoys creating graphic novels in her free time. As a member of the Digital Art Team, Westfall spends her time connecting with other artists and creating as much as she can.